06-07-2024 Milton Ness Memorial Teddy Bear Hospital


The Dr. Milton Ness Memorial Teddy Bear Hospital will be participating at the Edmonton Valley Zoo's 2024 Dreamnight at the zoo. 

Date: Friday, June 7, 2024
Time: 4:30-9:00pm

Set-up: 12:00 -4:00 pm

Volunteer Shifts: 4:15-7:15 pm & 7-10 pm

We are looking for Teddy Bear Hospital committee members to help organize and plan for this year's & future year's events.

  • Email me at info@easav.ca if you can attend 1-3 meetings before & after this year's event. Committee members will be asked to:

  • Take on lead roles for each hospital station this year

  • Go over planning/set-up details for this year's event

  • Meet after the event to review what went well and discuss improvements that can be made for next year

  • This committee is open to All EASAV DVM/RVT members & non-member support staff

We're using SignUp to help you sign up for shifts at this year's Teddy Bear Hospital.

Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to SignUp for a shift: https://signup.com/go/NyFankr

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.

Note: SignUp does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

Location: Big White top tent just to the left (on the Wander) after you enter the zoo gates. 

Volunteers help run the following activity centres:

  • Reception:  Volunteers will help kids put ID collars on their own stuffed animals for admission into the hospital bandaging centre

  • Bandaging Centre: Here, kids can get help from a volunteer, to bandage their stuffed animal's various body parts. Sometimes the kids go home with bandages of their own!  

  • Interactive Stations: Families have fun guessing which animal the xrays from the zoo belong to, what foreign bodies were pulled out of real dogs and how many puppies the pregnant dog is going to have at our interactive centre - we use this to keep people entertained as they wait to get into our surgery room!

  • Poop Scoop Race: weather and volunteers permitting, we have doggie bags & fake poops that kids can race to scoop on some green space close to our tent. 

  • Foreign Body Sx Room: Here, volunteers will cap, mask and glove kids who want to pull foreign body treats out of stuffed surgery dogs, which were made and donated to EASAV for this purpose by a few EASAV members and RVTs. These dogs, numbering 4-5, are anatomically correct and have velcro or zipper pouches in their intestines, bladders and stomach, where we stuff the treats that kids need to find and pull out! 

  • A huge thanks goes out to Dr. Melody Howlett of the Belle Rive Pet Hospital for her amazing work creating our foreign body surgery dogs!

  • Photographers: we need 2-4 volunteers to take photos of the kids participating in our event and collect signatures from families (for FOIP consent); we use these photos so clinics and the ABVMA can help spread the good word about the great things our veterinary community is up to!

Here are some highlights from previous years at Dreamnight at the Zoo!

About Dr. Milton Ness

“I consider my soul to be that of an animal advocate. Our world is a better place because of our relationship to other members of our earth.”      - Dr. Milton Ness

The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s Surgical Suite, developed by Dr. Milton Ness, opened in 2012. He was instrumental in developing the first veterinary program and hospital at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. As the facility came together, Dr. Ness was excited to share his passion with other animal lovers. Early participation in Dreamnight at the Zoo was a way to include families and share this visionary facility. During the first Dreamnight event, a child visitor became excited by the fact that the animals were loved and cared for in the same manner that he had received care at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. The child’s warmth and passion resonated with Dr. Ness and inspired him to develop a new program for all those who stopped by the Edmonton Valley Zoo Animal Hospital.

Dr. Ness had read about the International Teddy Bear Hospitals in Europe, whose aims were to reduce childhood anxiety and fears relating to medical environments, procedures and healthcare professionals. His vision was to have children experience the parallels of animal and human care in a safe and healthy environment. He planned for a fun event where children could live through the experience by bringing in a Teddy Bear for “repair” or receive a gently loved stuffy to keep.  Inspired by Dr. Ness’s vision, the Teddy Bear Hospital was born and is now a permanent part of the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s Dreamnight at the Zoo.

In preparation for this event, each year, veterinarians and veterinary support staff all around the City of Edmonton collect donations of teddy bears from schools, their staff, family and clients. Many volunteer their time to help plan and/or sew mock foreign body surgery dogs for use in the Teddy Bear Hospital Surgery Room. Others volunteer on site with interactive stations where children can find treasures inside their surgical patients, bandage their newly adopted teddy bears, participate in a scoop the poop race and learn about the care and treatment of the pets they have at home! 

The first Teddy Bear Hospital that was held at Dreamnight at the zoo was in June of 2014. Unfortunately, Dr. Ness did not live to see his dream come to fruition. Thankfully, the Edmonton Association of Small Animal Veterinarians and the Edmonton Valley Zoo combined their efforts to help realize Dr. Ness’ dream. The wonderful work of these organizations has allowed the Dr. Milton Ness Memorial Teddy Bear Hospital to grow over the last five years. Through these efforts, Dr. Milton Ness’ memory, teaching and compassion live on.

Doctor Ness was a leader in animal health and welfare. He was passionate about his profession in veterinary medicine. Dr. Ness lived a lifetime of caring and advocating for animals.


  • Developed the first Veterinary Program and Veterinary Hospital at the Edmonton Valley Zoo
  • Adjunct Clinical Faculty of the University of Calgary School of Medicine
  • Owner and Manager of Ottewell and Capilano Animal Clinics (1988-2014)
  • Board Member and Chairman of Edmonton S.P.C.A (1993-1999)
  • Instructor in Animal Health Technology at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Recipient of Communications Award from the Alberta Veterinary Medical Assoc. 2012
  • Recipient of Mayors Award 2012
  • Teacher, mentor and loved to share knowledge

In loving memory.

The EASAV Executive Team

  This event has 95 seats remaining.
PricingApplies ToPriceEffective On
Support Staff Support Staff $0.00 March 26, 2024
Associate RVTs Associate Members (RVT) $0.00 March 26, 2024
Associate DVMs Associate Members (DVM) $0.00 March 26, 2024
Members Voting Members $0.00 March 26, 2024
Non-member DVMs Non-Member Vets $0.00 March 26, 2024